Superfoods have earned their stellar reputation as superstars of the food world by being nutritionally dense and rich in nutrients. But what if those foods could help you to lose weight and belly fat in addition to delivering their powerful nutritional benefits? The good news is that many of them do!
Here are 10 superfoods to add to your diet for their nutritional and weight loss benefits:
1. Jalapeno Peppers
Jalapeno peppers are rich in minerals and nutrients, making them a surprising superfood that many people don’t think of. It’s the alkaloid capsaicin in jalapenos that gives them their spicy flavor and is also responsible for their potential weight loss benefits. According to Bioscience Reports, capsaicin is correlated with a decreased risk of obesity. It’s been shown to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure in study subjects. If you love all things spicy, then jalapenos will be a welcomed superfood to try.
Whip up these Jalapeno Poppers for a fun snack to attack cravings. Learn five more surprising benefits of spicy food here! >
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon’s nutritional benefits help make it a superfood. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of cardiac problems. Eating salmon regularly may also help speed up weight loss for men, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity. Many salmon recipes also happen to be relatively low in calories, making it a lean option that can be prepared in many delicious ways. Check out these mouthwatering salmon recipes. >
Loaded with nutrients, dark leafy greens like spinach provide essential vitamins for to skin, bone and immune system health benefits, says Healthline. Spinach is also incredibly nutrient dense. A cup of raw spinach has just seven calories but provides more than 56 percent of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin A and all of your daily vitamin K, says Healthline. On top of all that, researchers at Lund University in Sweden found that spinach boosted weight loss by 43 percent and reduced food cravings by up to 95 percent. This Creamy Spinach Stuffed Chicken recipe is an easy way to fit spinach into a Flex meal.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber and are thought to help with heart disease and cancer prevention, says Healthline. While there’s a lot of focus on pomegranate juice—which does have more antioxidants than individual seeds—eating the seeds whole gives you the benefit of fiber and added vitamins and minerals. Fiber can help keep you full longer and support weight loss. A study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that giving obese and insulin resistant mice pomegranate seed oil for 12 weeks decreased body weight, body fat and improved peripheral insulin sensitivity.
Embrace those pomegranate benefits! There are some really great ways to fit pomegranates into your day. Get inspired by these delicious recipes. >
With lots of nutrients delivered with a satisfying crunch, almonds make a “superfood snack” or a great addition to meals. They can easily be tossed into salads, cereals and yogurt or incorporated into cooking. A study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found a link between daily almond consumption and weight loss—specifically belly fat. On the Nutrisystem plan, almonds are a PowerFuel, which are foods that offer high-quality proteins while also containing essential amino acids and healthy fats.
6. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are a nutrient-dense and fiber-rich “superseed.” Flax seed recipes are usually easy to make and are packed with superfood benefits. They can be tossed into a variety of dishes to ramp up their nutrition power. Flax seed also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, says Healthline. This helps to ensure healthy and gradual digestion that keeps you fuller longer. It is this digestive superpower that is likely to help assist with weight loss.
While most berries are good for you and can be considered superfoods, blueberries are said to be one of the best, particularly when it comes to their ability to help you lose stubborn belly fat. According to the University of Michigan, research shows that blueberries may help to burn belly fat because of their high antioxidant content.
While blueberries are tasty to eat on their own, there are also many great ways to cook or bake with them to increase your consumption. The naturally sweet goodness of blueberries makes them a healthy alternative to many sugar-laden desserts—a common healthy diet downfall. Be sure to check out these 10 reasons you need to eat more fruit like blueberries! >
Here at The Leaf, we love avocados! Avocados are rich in potassium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are “healthy fats” essential to a weight loss plan. That’s because your body needs fat to help you feel full and satisfied after eating, to provide quick-burning energy and to aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals that you consume. As a “whole food” source of healthy fat, avocados have that power. People who regularly eat avocados have significantly lower body weight, BMI (body mass index), and waist circumference, and higher HDL (good cholesterol levels) than people who don’t eat the fruit, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal.
There are many great ways to use avocado that you may never have thought of. It can be a healthy substitute for mayo, a topping for salads, a baking ingredient for cookies or brownies and even a base for pudding. It’s creamy texture and versatile nature help it to shine as a superfood to help you lose fat. Here are more superfood facts about avocados! >
9. Black Beans
Black beans are packed with potent plant-based nutrients that are believed to help protect against cancer, says Medical News Today. They’re also an inexpensive and easy-to-cook-with food that can be incorporated into many different dishes. For those looking to drop some pounds and lose fat, some of the best news is that consuming beans was linked to “reduced body fat percentage” in a study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Another study, published in BMC Proceedings, shows that certain compounds in the beans might help to strengthen the body’s insulin resistance and protect against obesity.
As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what if it could keep the pounds away, too? Apples are rich in weight-loss-friendly fiber and help slow the digestion of food. This helps you to feel fuller with fewer calories. For these reasons, they can definitely play a vital role in your efforts to lose fat.
Apples are one of the most versatile fruits, with so many different ways to cook and prepare them. Try them out in this unique Instant Pot Apple Cake. Of course, apples are also delicious and nutritious all on their own or sliced with peanut butter. Check out this awesome video from The Leaf and learn five reasons to eat more apples! >